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Photo: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The pandemic has wreaked financial havoc on universities across the country. But while Power 5 schools are finally getting financial relief from their lucrative football programs, Division I's "have-nots" are still drowning.

Driving the news: The University of California, Riverside, which competes in the Big West Conference but doesn't play football, is considering dropping all 15 sports to cut costs.

By the numbers: UC Riverside is the most subsidized D-I athletic department in the country, per USA Today, with more than 90% of its $23.2 million in annual revenue coming from institutional support ($18.7 million) and student fees ($2.3 million).

  • Revenues (2019): $18.7m in school support; $2.3m in student fees; $646k in rights/licensing; $151k in ticket sales; $816k in 'other" = $23.2 million
  • Expenses (2019): $7.7m on coaching/staff; $4.8m on scholarships; $92k on facilities/overhead; $11m on "other" = $24.2 million

The state of play: School officials project a loss of $32 million in state funds due to the pandemic. Eliminating sports expenses while redirecting school funds elsewhere could help alleviate some of that financial stress.

The other side: Athletic director Tamica Smith-Jones has proposed an alternative solution, ESPN's Myron Medcalf reports.

  • Her plan involves increasing student fees (currently $105 per student) and expanding the athletic department to include recreational programs.

What's next: UC Riverside is expected to make a decision before the end of the year and possibly as early as next month.

Data: NCAA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: D-I, D-II and D-III athletics exist in entirely different galaxies. But even within the top division, itself, there's a huge gap between the UCLA's and UC Riverside's of the world.

  • With football underway and basketball nearing its return, Power 5 schools are back to generating millions of dollars from TV deals (plus some ticket sales) despite many of their campuses looking like ghost towns.
  • Meanwhile, UC Riverside and other smaller D-I school that rely primarily on institutional support and student fees are scrambling.

The bottom line: The Division I divide was best illustrated in a recent Knight Commission study, in which college administrators showed an openness for radical restructuring.

  • 61% of Power 5 administrators said they'd support breaking away and creating a fourth division for Power 5 programs in all sports except basketball.
  • All other segments of Division I — Group of Five, FCS and non–football playing members — were categorically opposed to that plan.

Go deeper: Inside the world of college sports financing (Axios)

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A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.